Archive for the 'me me me' Category

Setting Goals

I’ve been setting a lot of goals lately in different areas of my life. I’ve learned, for fitness and weight loss goals, my best bet is to set small mini goals and not look at the big picture very often. For me, the big picture can be so overwhelming as to be discouraging, instead of exciting.

Recently, I’ve been getting nudged to think about writing again. For some years now I’ve accepted the fact that, while I can be a good writer, I am not a driven writer. This was made especially clear to me after reading On Writing by Stephen King. Five thousand words a day, every day. Every. Single. Day. He did it, he had to do it. He still does it. Real writers can’t stop writing.  I can stop writing. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have time to fit writing in.  So, therefore, I’m not a real writer. Right?

But maybe there is room for the kind of writer I am…somewhere.

Through a strange series of events involving Twitter, and NASCAR, of all things, I was introduced to an organization called Delve Writing. Their premise is intriguing and I have signed up for a two week trial of their services. Today I will be sitting in on a “check in,” where those in the group have a weekly chance to say how they are doing on the writing goals they have set for themselves, whatever those might be.  In preparation, I have printed out their “Intention” worksheet. There is a large blank square to write my long-term vision in the present tense.  I’ve been staring at it for a while.

I know what I’m supposed to want to write in that box. I’m supposed to be excited to write “I am a widely published and sought after author who writes bestselling books.” That would be cool, wouldn’t it?  But I can’t write it, because I’m not sure that is my intention.

So I try to picture what I’d like my writing life to be like. What I picture is a full inbox of email. Some are asking me to edit novels (because I have no doubt that I am a real editor–most of the time).  But a lot of those emails are asking me to write things. “Dear Lori, can you write us a humor piece on weight loss? Hi Lori–Do you remember that article you wrote last year on being a female who likes motor racing? Could you do a follow up on….”

But how do you write that as a goal? Is that even a legitimate goal? I haven’t written that one down either, because I have no idea of the steps I’d need to take to get to that place–which is the next part of the worksheet.

I had wondered if maybe I was just too scared or feeling too small to write that I wanted to be a published author, because it was such a big picture goal. But now I really think that’s not necessarily what I want, although I would certainly take it.

But maybe all that means is that I’m not a real writer. Round and round I go…

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Life Lessons I Learned While Line Dancing

For about 2 years now I have been going country line dancing once a week, nearly every week, and for a stretch, while I was really learning a lot of new dances, twice a week. My best friend, who had been roped into it and was now hooked, hooked me into it.  Cowboy Gary: DJ, Choreographer, and Western Line Dance Teacher Extraordinaire, is the man who oversees us every Tuesday night. He’s a self-admitted dirty old man, but he’s a great dancer, and a great teacher.  I haven’t just learned the steps to a whole heck of a lot of dances in the past two years. I’ve also learned some helpful life lessons.

1. It’s OK to suck if you’re having fun.

I mean, what the heck? Just get out there and do your best. If you’re having a great time, that will be contagious. If it’s not, who cares, you’re having a great time! So what if you’re going left and everyone else is going right? Laugh, turn around, and move on. Now tell me, to what doesn’t  that advice apply?

2. You’ll get better.

So you get out there to do that one dance you know and you kick your own right foot with your own left foot and BOOM you’re on the floor, boots stomping all around you. First, see #1. Then next week you go out there again, and you don’t fall. Sure, maybe you tripped. Or you might have forgotten the dance in the middle. But give yourself a break, you got better. And next week? Sky’s the limit. You can always get better.

3. It all goes more smoothly if you don’t think too much.

You just have to feel it. Once you know the steps, it’ll all come to you. You’ve got this. Don’t overthink it, let the music in and just dance.

4. Pretend you are awesome.

You know stuff now, you love going out there and dancing. One day you see a video of yourself dancing and you’re horrified. “I’m flailing around out there like a turkey with Parkinson’s having a seizure.  How embarrassing. Never again!” First, see 1, 2, and 3. Then forget the video. It was edited, photoshopped, it wasn’t even YOU for Pete’s Sake. YOU are an awesome dancer, everyone knows it, everyone thinks so. People watch you to know how the dance should really be done. Just get out there and do it! Pretend you are awesome, even if, just maybe, you aren’t.

There you have it: It’s OK to suck because you’ll get better. It’ll all go more smoothly if you don’t think about it too much, so pretend you are awesome.

The Loneliest Number?

My running, aside from in a 5K, has been mainly a solitary activity.  I know not everyone runs that way: running groups, running partners, races, internet forums–running can be very social.  But, for me, the moment other feet hit the pavement around me, the comparisons start. He’s  faster, she’s not as sweaty, they’re breathing more easily. Her form is better, his shoes are nicer, their bodies are less lumpy. They’re real runners. I’m not.

I”ve been asked to run with a dear friend who has completed a few marathons. I’ve been asked to run with a bunch of high school friends who have a lovely, supportive running group. My answer has been the same. No, thanks, I’d hold you back. I can’t keep up. I’d slow you down. (Thinking: You’d find out I shouldn’t even be using the term “runner” to apply to myself.)

When I run alone, I’m free from the comparisons. When I run by myself I feel powerful, strong, accomplished. I put on my gear, pop in my earbuds, start up my tracking app, and go.  And for the next 40 or so minutes the conversation in my brain is positive. I can do this; I can keep going. That’s a little sore, but I’m fine. I can make it. Yes, I worry about pace and improving. But only in line with how I did on my last run. When I ran a 5K under 43 minutes, alone, it seemed like a huge accomplishment. It WAS a huge accomplishment for me. But when I ran a 5K in 40 minutes, and placed 600-something out of a thousand something, it was hard to keep that accomplishment in perspective.

It’s a shame really, because the running community has always been nothing but supportive. During my first 5K last year, when I had strep throat and a bronchial infection, but didn’t know it it yet, two women, who were total strangers to me, ran back on the course to find me (dead last) and run me in, encouraging me all the way. Last weekend, at my first 5K since I began re-training a few months ago, a whole line of runners who had completed their race cheered me along to the finish line “Push it through!” “You’re doing great!” “Almost there!” And they gave me that extra something I needed to sprint to the finish line for my best time ever. The running community is awesome.

Maybe someday I’ll feel legitimate enough to consider myself a part of it.  For now, I’ll listen to my music, encourage myself, plan my day’s to-do list, ponder what to wear tomorrow, and keep running…alone.

Budget? What is this, Budget?

I knew when I decided to move into my own apartment that it was going to require a little tightening of the old budget belt. Or rather, I needed to acquire a budget belt and then proceed to tighten it. My budgeting normally goes something like this:

“I want that.” *check balance of checking account online*

“Sweet there’s still money in there.”

*check how long til payday*

*buy it anyway*

So those days are no more, I should think. I could end up in a Dickensian Debtors Prison–although that would involve punishment and some sort of time travel, but you just never know, would you risk it? On the advice of a friend I purchased (oh the irony in having to make a purchase in order to make sure you don’t spend too much money) this. It’s lovely, and I have to resist the urge to spend money just to get to enter it on my register and watch it magically subtract from my budgeted amount for that category.

But in the “one step forward and two steps back” that is my life, when I went to sign the lease I had a bit of a surprise. I’m going to assume it was simply a miscommunication, or me not understanding how things worked, but I was under the impression that I was to give the landlady a security deposit equal to one month of rent on the day I signed the lease and then follow that up with 1st months rent on the first. Duly budgeted–after some shuffling, nail-biting, and stealing from my savings.

Turns out she wanted security that day and then first AND last’s months rent on the 1st. Now, I’m a lowly editor, and just the rent takes quite a chunk out of one paycheck, leaving the other paycheck to cover mostly everything else for that month. So you see my dilemma here. 2 months at 2X the rent? No budgeting software in the world is going to fix that.

So you know how people tell you that if you’re doing things right you will neither owe anything, nor receive a refund from the IRS come tax time? If not, the wise people say, you’re just giving the government your money and letting them use it for a year before they have to give it back to you. Well, my stubborn insistence on getting that little token from the IRS has just saved my newly housed arse. So there, wise people.

Emails from the edge

To: Meg, Jen

From: Lori

Subject: So big news…

I’m pregnant.

Just kidding! (Yeah, like that will ever happen.) The big news is that on Saturday I’m signing a lease for my very own place in Warrington/Warminster. It’s on ____ Road off of ___ Road. So between Street Road and County Line Road. It’s a tiny apartment above a private house. $750 a month including all utilities and cable TV. The bedroom is pretty big, the kitchen and bathroom are average, and the living room is teeeeny.

It all happened really fast. I was talking over with Melanie how I was thinking about staying in the area (more on that when we have dinner) and she gave me a website where you can look at the classified ads. And she pointed out that this place looked good. I called and went to look at it that night. And that was only yesterday! I thought I wouldn’t be able to move in because she wanted someone to move in immediately, and I wouldn’t be set and ready until March 1. So when I called this morning, I left a message that said “I’ll take it but only if March 1 is the lease date.” And she agreed!! I just have to pay her the deposit on Saturday. Stoked!!! I’m having a dinner party as soon as I’m settled, and you all have to come over and help me figure out where to put things to maximize space. My first place all on my own, I’m soooooo excited. So you’re stuck with me for at least another year.

Love,

L

Hide my phone!


My friend Cavi is home from grad school for the holidays. Tonight I’m going to have dinner at her parents house in beautiful Cornwall, Pennsylvania.

I have a bit of trepidation, though. Here are some of the things I did the last time I went to Cavi’s house (New Year’s Eve 2005):

  • Taught her parents how to country line dance while doing shots of tequila
  • Took video of her parents country line dancing while doing shots of tequila
  • Drank a case of beer in a hot tub, topped off with champagne at midnight
  • Ran around snowy backyard in my bathing suit at midnight, being only marginally sucessful at avoiding piles of dog poo.
  • Called everyone, and I mean everyone in my phone to tell them I loved them and Happy New Year and, apparently, asked some of them if they would marry me.
  • Called everyone again and said exactly the same thing.
  • Called one more time.
  • Broke a beer bottle when it fell off the side of the hot tub. Tried to pick up all the glass, but found out later that I didn’t succeed when her father got glass in his foot the next day.

I’m really surprised they are letting me come back.

The Friendly Skies

I’ve come up with yet another excuse reason why I’m single. I’m not very friendly and open when I’m by myself.

This struck me at the Charlotte airport on Monday night, when a man sat down on the floor beside me and began rubbing the carpet with the palm of his hand, coming disconcertingly close to my upper thigh. Strangely, he hadn’t seemed crazy up until that point, or after the rubbing.

Although my recent trip to England was the first time I spent real vacation time on my own, I do generally travel by myself. This means that I’m trying to watch all my stuff, keep track of my tickets, find gates, etc all on my own, and look reasonably confident while doing so. I have a special “travel face” that I wear, I think. And I don’t think it’s a very friendly face.

In fact, it’s not meant to be friendly. And that’s my problem. I don’t want to make pointless small talk with strangers. I don’t want to know where the person next to me is headed or what they were doing in the area. Frankly I don’t care, and I can’t bother pretending that I do. And I especially don’t want to smile at you or your small child as they tear around the airport while I hope against hope that the kid isn’t sitting near me on the flight.

But people who do those things, smile at strangers, talk to random people…they end up sitting next to someone on their flight and chatting and finding out that they went to high school with that person’s cousin whom they later end up marrying all because of that conversation on the commuter flight to Boston.


Lori

A blog about my life and other stuff.

Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Romania.

Dorothy Parker, Not So Deep as a Well (1937)